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Smart Farms grant for land management group to create ‘living haystack’

Seven land care groups across the Durack electorate will benefit from eight, Federal Government, Landcare Smart Farms Small Grants to adapt to change, innovate and become more sustainable.

Federal Member for Durack and Assistant Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price, said she was pleased to announce Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group Inc, was successful in receiving $48,200 under phase two of the program to undertake its Create a Living Haystack project.

“Smart Farms Small Grants support land managers to implement more sustainable agricultural practices and increase productivity,” she said.

This grant will help the Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group in the Midwest/Wheatbelt trial perennial grasses, native grasses and fodder shrubs in six different soil types in the region.

“At least 12 farm land managers throughout the catchment area that covers Dalwallinu, Kalannie,  Carnamah, Three Springs, and Morawa, will benefit by having the potential to drought proof stock farmers in times of drought, lambing season and directly after shearing, in severe weather conditions,” Ms Price said.

With knowledge gained from the trials, land managers may create a ‘living haystack’ providing green feed throughout the year, particularly for the hot summer months.

With a changing climate summers are expected to become hotter and drier with drought events likely to become more frequent.

“The method will reduce the risk of poor seasons and provide relief for annual feed budgets in the long term,” said Ms Price.

“The environment will also benefit from an increase in habitat and biodiversity for small mammals and reptiles.”

Coordinator of the Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group, Jude Sutherland, said the group was pleasantly surprised and very pleased to receive the funding.

“An agricultural service assessed some of the fodder areas in the region and this grant will enable us to trial perennial grasses to drought proof in the future,” she said.

“It is very relevant at the moment with the drought situation in the east.”

The Assistant Minister for the Environment said Aussie land carers have a huge job managing 61 per cent of this nation’s land.

“These grants of between $5,000 and $100,000 will support land care groups and farmers through new tools, methods and technology they need for their world-leading sustainable practices,” she said.

“The first round of funding was highly competitive, attracting over 800 applications. I strongly encourage those who missed out under round one, to seek feedback on their application and to apply under future rounds.”

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